27 Feb 2013

Pope's new title sorted

6:09 am on 27 February 2013

Benedict XVI will be known as pope emeritus and will retain the honorific His Holiness after he abdicates on Thursday.

Vatican officials said will also continue to be known by his papal title of Benedict XVI, rather than reverting to Joseph Ratzinger.

The BBC reports he will surrender his gold ring of office and his personal seal will be destroyed in the same way as when a pope dies.

Benedict will still wear his distinctive white cassock without any cape or trimmings, but brown shoes will replace his red slippers.

The title "emeritus" is used when a person of status, such as a professor or bishop, hands over their position so their former rank can be retained in their title.

Benedict's resignation is the first by a pope for almost 600 years. It takes effect at 8pm on Thursday.